Crohn’s and Caffeine: The delicate balance

Sleep deprivation and coffee go hand in hand for most parents out there. But, for those with Crohn’s, it can be a recipe for disaster. My son is almost 11 weeks and has been spoiling us for the past four or five weeks, by sleeping through most the night. But there were plenty of nights along the way…and still every now and then, where getting a solid night’s rest is nearly impossible. Even when babies sleep, for mom and dad you’re practically sleeping with one eye open waiting for a sound or movement from your little one. I ran into the same issue while working as a morning news anchor for seven years. A 2 a.m. alarm clock for work is difficult to deal with…without caffeine.

For most—coffee is a must. Fire up the bottle warmer and the Keurig. Am I right? For me, it’s a game of Russian roulette. Do I want to risk the chance of feeling awake, but also feel stomach pains and the need to run to the bathroom? Some days, I feel like more of a “rebel” then others…and it feels like the only option if I’m going to be functional for myself and my son while my husband is at work.

Other days I do my best to use a shower and sunshine to feel awake. It seems like an easy decision for all the non-Crohnies out there…I hear it all the time from family members and friends (especially the days I complain about being in pain!). “Stay away from coffee”… “I wouldn’t drink that if I were you”… “Did you drink coffee today?” I feel like I’m surrounded by the coffee police. It almost makes me want to drink it even more to try and prove all the naysayers wrong.

This morning I enjoyed a nice mug of coffee. Of course, the minute I put the K-cup in Reid started crying. So, I grabbed my cup of joe and sat with my foot rocking his Rock N’Play while I soaked up the liquid energy. He quickly dosed off into his angelic little sleep state. A matter of minutes later I ran to the bathroom…of course, he starts screaming, again.

As I sat on the toilet with the door open, trying to calm him down and go as fast as I could…I felt guilty that I once again gave into the need for caffeine. I had been up since 4:30 a.m., it seemed like a necessity. But is it, really?

The jury is still out when it comes to the topic of Crohn’s Disease aimage1nd caffeine. In other words, there is not substantial research that shows the impact caffeine may have on individuals with inflammatory bowel disease. But, there’s common knowledge that caffeine has a laxative effect, so if diarrhea is already a problem, it could create even more of an issue. Caffeine is also highly acidic and acts as a diuretic, which can lead to dehydration. It’s also known to elevate stress hormones and divert blood from the stomach, which can worsen digestion.

While this seems like pretty solid evidence to stay away from caffeine,  it’s still tough to refrain because sometimes the 10 ounces makes no difference to how I feel at all. It’s either—phew, now I can conquer the world…or why did I do this to myself, again?

6 thoughts on “Crohn’s and Caffeine: The delicate balance

  1. SickChristine says:

    No caffeine and a newborn to take care of? I can understand why you’d be drawn to a cup of joe. I don’t know if I could resist. I feel for ya.


  2. Jenni Hodge says:

    It’s so true! It seems it’s that way with a lot of foods, you never really know how your going to feel until after you eat it. One day it may settle fine, the next day you may be on the toilet all day! Who knows??!! Sometimes though you just need a little pick me up! Thanks for being honest!


  3. Sara says:

    I spend so much time with tons of people who have Crohn’s and UC at events and almost everyone drinks coffee, me and my significant other included. It all depends on so many factors but I really hate when people automatically say not to do something when there is no reason why. Obviously if you don’t have issues with it then there is no reason to refrain and if you do have issues with it then stay away.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s